U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist detained while documenting NYC protest

Incident Details


Freelance photojournalist Olga Fedorova, right, was briefly detained and handcuffed by New York Police Department officers while documenting a pro-Palestinian protest that shut down the Brooklyn Bridge on April 15, 2024. She was released without charges.

April 15, 2024

Freelance photojournalist Olga Fedorova was repeatedly shoved and briefly detained by New York Police Department officers while documenting a pro-Palestinian protest in New York City on April 15, 2024.

Fedorova told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker she was on assignment for FreedomNews.TV covering a protest that shut down the Brooklyn Bridge. The demonstration was part of a national campaign to block roads on Tax Day to disrupt economies and pressure leaders into advocating for a cease-fire, The New York Times reported.

Protesters and police were engaged in what Fedorova described as a game of cat and mouse, as officers attempted to prevent the demonstration from moving onto the bridge. Fedorova said officers repeatedly pushed her as she was filming while walking backward, nearly knocking her over.

As a group of protesters made their way onto the bridge at around 3:30 p.m., blocking vehicular traffic, Fedorova told the Tracker she and fellow photojournalists Jon Farina and Neil Constantine followed in order to continue their coverage.

“The protesters were being chased by cops on bicycles, and a group of them climbed over to the pedestrian side in order to evade the bicycle unit,” Fedorova said.

In footage captured by Farina, he and Fedorova can be heard identifying themselves as press. An officer responds that he understands but orders them to keep moving across the bridge.

After most of the protesters had climbed the fence or been arrested, Fedorova said she decided to climb over the fence as well.

“As I approached the fence and had my back turned to the cops — on my backpack I have a patch that says ‘PRESS’ — one of them grabbed me and pulled me by the hair backwards,” Fedorova said. “I identified myself as press and showed him my press badge, but they cuffed me and then cuffed Jon Farina.”

Fedorova said both she and Farina identified as press multiple times, but were detained in zip-tie cuffs for approximately 10 minutes. The officers called the department’s Legal Bureau, she said, which advised them to release the journalists without charge.

“There’s a pattern of what seems to be ignorance or lack of understanding of what the press does or the rights of the press,” Fedorova said. “Sometimes it’s like some of the officers have never seen a press badge before or haven’t been educated as to what that is.”

She told the Tracker she plans to file a complaint with the deputy commissioner of public information. The New York Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].